May 31, 2018

ISO 45001: A New Standard in Global Occupational Health and Safety

In a global economy where your suppliers can be across town or half way around the world it can be difficult to determine if those businesses are adhering to the same health and safety standards that you are. Think of the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh in 2013 when 1,129 people were killed when the 8-story factory where they were working collapsed due to structural issues that had gone ignored. Though the global companies that bought the clothing made in this factory may have had their own safety standards, processes and programs, they had little control over the conditions and health and safety practices of the factory thousands of kilometers away.

To combat the problem, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed and released the new standard, ISO 45001:2018, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, which provides a set of processes for improving workplace practices globally. It is intended to help organizations of all sizes and industries improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks, and create better, safer working conditions all over the world.

ISO is a United Nations recognized non-governmental organization that works in 162 countries. This standard was developed by a committee of occupational health and safety experts and takes into account other international standards such as the internationally applied OHSAS 18001 standard for occupational health and safety management systems, the International Labour Organization ILO-OSH Guidelines and the ILO's international labour standards and conventions. The ISO 45001 will replace OHSAS 18001, the world's former reference for health and safety.

Who it's for

The new standard is applicable to all organization, regardless of size, industry or nature of business. It provides government agencies, industry and other affected stakeholders with guidance for improving worker safety in countries around the world. It can help organizations provide a safe and healthy work environment for workers and visitors by continually improving their occupational health and safety functions.

Key Elements

The system takes a risk-based approach and encourages proactive prevention through the identification of activities and processes that can harm workers as well as meet legal compliance requirements. Additionally, there is an emphasis placed on the responsibilities of senior management. The system can't work without their commitment and key role in the system's implementation, maintenance, development, and promotion. This active role played by management can help to embed the management system into the culture and day-to-day operation of the business. Worker involvement is fundamental in the system's implementation through their participation in decision making, evaluating procedures and providing feedback.


This management system provides a structured approach to protecting workers.

Potential benefits from the use of the standard include:

  • Eliminating or minimizing risks
  • Reduction of workplace accidents
  • Reduced absenteeism and staff turnover
  • Reduced cost of insurance premiums
  • Creation of a health and safety culture, whereby employees are encouraged to take an active role in their own occupational health and safety
  • Reinforced leadership commitment to proactively improve occupational health and safety performance
  • Ability to meet legal and regulatory requirements
  • Improved staff morale through commitment to safety and encouraging participation

Supply Chain

Under ISO 45001, when production is outsourced, the parent company's occupational health and safety standards must be applied. This means that companies that have traditionally outsourced difficult and dangerous activities to locations where the cost of production is lower and labour laws are lenient will no longer be able to do so. Suppliers and subcontractors must apply the same standards as the principal business so that the parent company stays in compliance. Adopting ISO 45001 requires that an organization assess its safety standards throughout their entire supply chain to prevent accidents.

Certification and compliance to ISO 45001 is not mandatory but is a way to provide valid proof that a contracting or outsourcing organization adheres to the same standards as its host or client. The steps involved in adhering to the standard can facilitate continuous improvement and this recognized certification can help support business expansion into global markets and ensure that the safety standards adhered to at the organization's home are followed by suppliers, regardless of location.


May 16, 2018

EPA extends deadline to apply for $5.5 billion in water infrastructure projects loans.

WASHINGTON  –– Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced at a meeting with water sector associations that the deadline to submit letters of interest for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans has been extended to July 31, 2018. Administrator Pruitt also sent a letter highlighting the deadline extension to governors of 56 states and territoriesas well as tribal leadership.

"By extending the deadline to apply for a WIFIA loan, even more entities will be able to bring critical water infrastructure improvements to their communities, including projects that keep lead and other contaminants out of drinking water," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "These projects create jobs, protect public health, and help ensure that all Americans continue to have access to clean and safe water."

EPA's announcement comes as part of Infrastructure Week and highlights the importance of working together with the water sector on a variety of topics, including affordability, governance, and the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs).

Also in conjunction with Infrastructure Week, the Agency released a new interactive website that showcases leading efforts by states, public water systems, and communities to replace lead service lines.


Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program at EPA that aims to accelerate investment in the nation's water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects. WIFIA can provide up to 49 percent of the financing for a project and a state SRF could provide additional financing for the remaining eligible project costs. The WIFIA program received $63 million in funding in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 23, 2018. 

On April 4, 2018, EPA announced the availability of additional WIFIA funding that could provide as much as $5.5 billion in loans, leveraging over $11 billion in water infrastructure projects. This year's WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability highlights the importance of protecting public health, including reducing exposure to lead and other contaminants in drinking water systems and updating the nation's aging infrastructure.

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May 9, 2018

Free Webnar on Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality Assessment and Monitoring Trends

Stay up-to-date with outdoor and indoor air quality and monitoring trends. When:  Tue, Jun 5, 2018 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM CST
 Webinar will cover: - legislation governing air quality in the U.S. and Europe; - how the air quality compares in the two regions; - basics of the major pollutants and main industrial sources; - outdoor air quality assessment by industry; - indoor air quality assessment; and - how to choose an air monitoring device. Who should attend: - managers responsible for air emissions compliance; - Environmental Health & Safety personnel; and - anyone responsible for indoor and outdoor air quality; cities, municipalities, organizations.

Register here:

May 8, 2018

EPA announces applicants selected for FY18 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants

EPA is Pleased to Announce the Selection of $3.3M in FY18 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Funding

EPA is selecting approximately $3.3  million in grant funding to 17 communities across the country to recruit, train, and place unemployed and underemployed individuals with the skills needed to secure long-term employment in the environmental field. Each recipient will receive funds to develop and operate environmental job training programs that advance environmental justice by providing opportunities for residents living in areas impacted by contaminated lands. EPA EWDJT grants Transform Lives and Advance Economic Opportunities. Local residents will secure employment within their communities conducting brownfields remediation, Superfund cleanup, wastewater management, solid waste recycling and cleanup, integrated pest management, chemical safety, solar installation, and other environmental work.

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May 7, 2018

EPA Releases Five-Year Review of the 2012 Recreational Water Quality Criteria

The EPA has released its Five-year Review of the 2012 Recreational Water Quality Criteria (RWQC), as required by the BEACH Act amendments to the Clean Water Act (CWA). The review report describes the state of the science since the release of the 2012 RWQC, related to the protection of human health in water bodies designated for primary contact recreation (e.g., swimming) in these areas:
  • Health studies;
  • Indicators and performance of qPCR methods;
  • Microbial source tracking;
  • RWQC implementation tools; and
  • Criteria adoption by states, territories and authorized tribes.

Based on the EPA's review of the existing criteria and developments in the available science, and consistent with CWA Section 304(a)(9)(B), the EPA has decided not to revise the 2012 Recreational Water Criteria during this review cycle. The Agency believes, however, that further research and analysis as identified in this report will contribute to EPA's future review of the 2012 RWQC. The EPA will work with the environmental public health community as it moves forward with its research efforts. The use of qPCR and ongoing research in methods and indicators continue to strengthen and augment the tools available to support the current criteria.

May 4, 2018

Fire Surge: Why Are We Witnessing A 93% Increase In Waste & Recycling Facility Fires In First 4 Months of 2018

.............March's number of 37 fire incidents is not only one of the highest months on record but is more than the number of fires that occurred in both March of 2016 and 2017 combined. March 2018 could merely be an anomaly. But then comes April. Aprils's number of 36 fire incidents is not only one of the highest months on record as well but is more than the number of fires that occurred in both April of 2016 and 2017 combined.
The Scope of the Problem:
In the past 12 months, we have seen 347 unique reported waste and recycling facility fire incidents in the US & Canada. When you factor in my extremely conservative assumptions that we are under-reporting waste and recycling facility fires by about 5:1, (Source: we are looking at a reasonable number of fire incidents in the US and Canada at 1700+.
In the same time period (May 2016-Apr 2017) we encountered 277 waste and recycling facility fire incidents in the US and Canada. Using the Environmental Research & Educations Foundations data, EREF's Municipal Solid Waste In The US, published in 2016: In 2013 there were 3,913 recycling facilities and 81 WtE facilities. That would equate to 40% of Waste & Recycling Facilities have had a "Fire Incident" in the past 12 months, increasing from the 30% I had shared at WasteExpo in 2017. I realize this number might seem high to some, but when put in the context of Rumpke's reporting, of 12 fires in 2017 reported in just two of their facilities, you can see the numbers start to add up quickly.

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Fukushima: Melted nuclear fuel still clinging to the walls where radiation levels are so high even robots cannot enter

INSIDE the heart of Fukushima's deadly reactor: JAW-dropping footage from the heart of the Fukushima nuclear disaster zone reveals the devastation inside its destroyed reactor. The scenes were captured by a camera attached to a 16-metre rod and inserted into reactor 2 at the doomed Japanese power plant.